LAKEWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Officials say 15 people have been charged after a large crowd became unruly as Lakewood police officers broke up a funeral gathering that violated New Jersey’s stay-at-home order. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office says officers were dispatched to a large funeral gathering, of about 60 to 70 people, on the corner of 8th Street and Madison Avenue, around 6:30 p.m.
The gathering was in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s order that banned gatherings of individuals at weddings, parties, celebrations, or other social events, including funerals, as of March 21.
“The Governor has banned all public gatherings during this state and national public health emergency. This ban applies to everyone,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement. “To be blunt, ignoring the Governor’s Order places lives at risk – not just the lives of everyday citizens, but the lives of our brave men and women in Law Enforcement who are required to respond in order to break up these unlawful gatherings. I am imploring everyone to abide by the Governor’s Order and stay at home, so that we might all get through this very difficult time together — as painlessly as possible.”
As officers tried to disperse the crowd, people became argumentative and additional officers were called to assist.
Officials say 27-year-old Samuel Manheim, of Brooklyn, New York, initially gave a false name and social security number. He was placed under arrest after several unsuccessful attempts to positively identify him.
He was charged hindering his own apprehension, as well as violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor during a state of emergency.
Fourteen other individuals were also charged with violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor during a state of emergency.